A predictive dialer is a computerized dialing system that allows call center agents to dramatically increase live connections. Unlike traditional auto-dialers, which merely dial phone numbers for agents, predictive dialers only connect agents to calls that are actually answered by people, freeing agents from the need to listen to unanswered calls, busy signals, disconnected lines, or answers from fax machines, answering machines and other automatic services.
Predictive dialers use mathematical formulas known as algorithms to predict both the average time it will take for calls to be answered and agent availability, adjusting the calling rate accordingly. A predictive dialer, such as the one offered by Five9, Inc., learns from average call length when to anticipate that an agent will soon become available and speeds up and slows down the dialing rate accordingly. The dialer monitors how calls are answered and discards unanswered or otherwise unsuccessful calls. A good predictive dialer can also analyze unsuccessful calls to determine if the number needs to be called back later or requires special handling, such as a manual call by an agent.
Predictive dialers become more accurate at predicting average call length and agent availability as more agents use the system. The reason is simply that averages based on large samples are more accurate than averages based on small ones. When more agents use the system, more calls are made and there are more data points from which to derive average call length.
Predictive dialers maximize revenues per call center agent by increasing live connections by up to 300%.
Typically, only 25-35% of calls dialed will actually be answered by a live person; the rest are not answered at all, get busy signals, or are answered by a machine or other electronic system. With a predictive dialer, only those calls that are answered live are transferred to an agent, increasing the time agents spend in actual conversation from 15 minutes out of every hour to almost 50. With up to three times more connections, predictive dialers lower the cost per lead, increase business activity per day, and improve overall agent efficiency.
Preview dialing is typically used in call centers where agents need to familiarize themselves with the context of the customer relationship or the last contact just before dialing. This allows agents to tailor the conversation for each call according to the company’s history with the customer. To increase productivity, administrators can control how much time the agent has to review the contact’s details and history before the system automatically dials the customer’s telephone number.
Call centers that prefer to avoid dropped (abandoned) outbound calls typically use progressive dialing, which automatically dials one call per available agent. Progressive dialing is the simplest dialing mode to set-up and administer and is the best way to gain productivity benefits of automated dialing while ensuring each connected outbound call is delivered to an available agent.